Local author pens new book

PARKERSBURG — A former police chief and mayor of Parkersburg has penned his second true-to-life book about crime in the region.

Bob Newell was a participant and investigator as a Parkersburg Police officer in many of the crimes and investigations he writes about in “… As I Walk Through the Valley of Meth …”

A portion from the sale of the book will be donated to We Have Your Six, which supports veterans.

The book journalizes the rise of the drug trade in the Mid-Ohio Valley from 1960 to 2020, going into detail about several high-profile cases that rocked the region.

“… As I Walk Through the Valley Meth …” is about drug-related murders, robberies, kidnappings and other violence, major narcotics cases and the rise of the drug epidemic.

Among those was the November 1979 murder and decapitation of Charles Morgan Marsh at his residence on Dry Run Road. Marsh, who was handcuffed, was lying in bed, but his head with neatly combed hair was on a nightstand.

“It would turn out the murder of Marsh was over a cocaine deal that gone bad in Florida. A local gangster, alias Tony James, had hired Richard Wickline to kill Marsh. Wickline was a professional hit man,” the book said. “Two women who had accompanied Wickline to Parkersburg and assisted in other murders confessed to the Ohio task force officers as part of a plea deal.”

Wickline was later executed in Ohio in an unrelated case.

Newell also writes about the December 2002 shooting of an alleged methamphetamine dealer, Bryan Paul Causey, by a law-enforcement officer. Causey had been under surveillance by the Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force.

Causey had left a house where he was cooking methamphetamine near West Virginia 31 and the airport. The plan was to stop Causey near an entrance to a subdivision and roadblocks were set up to protect people.

However, while nearing the intersection, Causey slammed his truck into reverse, striking a following unmarked police car. The truck became stuck in the mud while Causey kept the accelerator floored.

Officers pulled a woman out of the truck to safety, but Causey was shot by an officer who feared the truck would become unstuck and strike other officers. The truck became unstuck when he was shot and Causey took off down the road toward the roadblock.

“Mortally wounded, Causey crashed into the first vehicle in line, resulting in an occupant receiving two broken legs, among other injuries,” the book said. “He then struck a second vehicle before continuing down the highway several hundred more yards.”

He died on his way to Williamstown, the truck slowly drifting off the road and coming to rest against a tree.

Other notables in the book include Fat Jack, the murder of David Curd in February 1985, working undercover, Project Parkersburg and the largest seizure of methamphetamine in 2018 and organized hits and attempted hits over drugs.

Newell also discusses the rise of drug usage including the opioid epidemic. Crimes of concealing a body increased as addicts fail to report deaths or hide bodies so they continue the dead person’s car, house and credit cards.

“The opioid epidemic created a new generation of depraved addicts and dealers who have complete disregard for human life,” the book said.

Newell’s first book about local crime was “Violence in the Valley” published in 2020. It is about local murders.

“There will probably be one more after this,” he said.

Significant and notable arsons will be the subject for the third, Newell said.

“… As I Walk Through the Valley of Meth …” is not a sequel to “Violence in the Valley,” Newell said.

The book is locally available for purchase at J&M Bookstore and at Amazon.com for $14.99. It is a 229-page paperback.

Jess Mancini can be reached at



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